Spiced vegetable biryani

Spiced vegetable biryani

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(112 ratings)

Takes 50 minutes - 1 hour


Serves 6
This simple vegetarian curry, full of fresh Indian flavours, is quick to make and cooks in a single pot

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian


  • kcal494
  • fat12g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs89g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre5g
  • protein14g
  • salt0.99g
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  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets



    A brassica, like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower…

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potato

    sweet po-tate-toe

    Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet-spicy flavour that makes them ideal for savoury…

  • 1 large onion, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1l hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp hot curry paste (Madras is good)
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • large pinch of saffron strands



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 2 tsp mustard seed (black or white)
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 140g trimmed green bean, halved
  • 2 lemons, juice only



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 50g packet salted roasted cashew nuts



    The seeds from the 'Cashew Apple' - a tree which bears bright orange fruit and is native…

  • poppadums and raita, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin or ovenproof dish and put in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat through. Add all the vegetables to the tin, except the beans, stirring to coat them in the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 15 minutes until beginning to brown.

  2. While the vegetables are roasting, stir together the stock, curry paste, chilli, saffron and mustard seeds.

  3. Mix the rice and green beans with the vegetables in the tin, then pour over the stock mixture. Lower the oven to 190C/gas 5/fan 190C. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice and check the seasoning, then scatter over the coriander and cashew nuts. Serve with a pile of poppadums and a bowl of raita.

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Comments, questions and tips

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7th Mar, 2020
I've made this several times exactly as per the recipe. Really easy to make and delicious. Makes loads (only two of us to serve in my house) and leftovers heat up well for extra meals and/or lunches.
23rd Feb, 2020
I took other peoples' comments on board. I roasted the veg as directed but in a separate roasting tin. I put the rice and stock etc into a deep casserole / saute pan and brought that mixture to the boil for about 3 minutes before adding the roasted veg and the green beans. I then clamped on the lid and popped in the oven. It cooked beautifully. The rice was fluffy, veg the right texture. I didn't have cashews but scattered some toasted flaked almonds over with some chopped coriander. It was lovely - clean plates all round.
21st Jun, 2019
Sat wondering what to make for tea last night, googling ‘tea tonight’ really couldn’t be bothered going shopping then stumbled across this recipe.... didn’t have sweet potato or green beans so used carrot, swede and peas! Thought 500g rice was a lot ... so reduced to 300g and adjusted the stock slightly. Cooked it all in a stainless steel roasting tin, checked the rice after 20 minutes and added a little more water..... result - big thumbs up from everybody, will definitely be making this dish again and again.... I said I’d serve it with tandoori chicken next time...... not sure why so many people have failed with this dish ?!?!
24th May, 2019
Wanted to comment to balance some of the negative vibes. I have been making this since it first appeared in the magazine in 2003 and must have clocked up 20 + at least by now. I've never had a bad meal when I've done this, it's my go to casual meal to feed guests as it looks impressive in the middle of the table for people to help themselves. After having cooked on an AGA for 24 years, we recently moved to a house with a stove type oven and I've had to learn to cook it (and everything else) all over again. It still works brilliantly! I think the variations come with the size of the pan and how tightly it is sealed with the foil as this greatly affects the rice cooking time. I'm not sure what people were expecting when they mentioned the amount of rice- it's a biryani, not a curry! That said, this is my teenage son's favourite meal and he dislikes rice otherwise. One of my favourite recipes that I will continue to serve for many years to come.
29th Apr, 2019
I make this regularly for my family and it’s always a winner! I have seen that lots of people don’t rate it but, as with all rice meals, you need to keep an eye on it. I didn’t put all the liquid in at first, checked it after 15 minutes or so, added the rest of the liquid ...make sure the veggies are a bit soft before adding everything else and you’re good to go! Thanks for this recipe! :)
Liz Huby's picture
Liz Huby
27th Apr, 2019
Took about three times the amount of time to cook despite following the recipe to the letter. Not great when you have a hungry family to feed. Really disappointed.
kibethewalrus's picture
13th Feb, 2019
We love this recipe, been doing it for years, always turns out great. The cashew nuts and fresh coriander give it a extra flavour and texture, and we have served this to vegetarians and meat eaters with no complaints. The kids even love it, we serve with popadoms to scoop, because it's a biryani it doesn't have a sauce so bear that in mind if you prefer something wetter with naan.
constelisetion's picture
28th Jan, 2019
It took 3 hours to cook in the oven even on a high setting, a ridiculous amount of rice and after 3 hours still not cooked. sweet potato was raw until I was just too hungry to not eat it. tasty but if youre going to cook it I reccomend halfing the rice and cooking the vegetables completely before adding rice and stock.
Anna B's picture
Anna B
5th Dec, 2018
Absolutely loved it! Tips: We cooked it for an hour (not half) and added another half litre of stock. We just finished this off tonight. For the 2 of us, it lasted throughout 4 separate meals and we don’t eat miniature portions. One meal we added some chicken and another time added prawns - both delicious. Next time we’ll also try with paneer. My boyfriend said he’d have preferred it with a bit less lemon but ate it regardless. I just loved it as it was, and even the 4th time eating it we were both so pleased with how fantastic it tastes. It has become a new favourite of ours and we’ll make it many times!
16th Sep, 2018
TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE. We followed the recipe by the exact amounts/method. Once in the oven this took 2 hours, constantly needed more stalk. In the end this Biryani STILL wasn’t cooked. Just an obscene amount of rice. Everything just turned to gloop. Would not recommend this dish. We were so angry we couldn’t even look at the biryani. Had to dispose of it into the bin at 12am nearly vomiting in the process. Ended up putting frozen pizza in the oven instead. Just terrible. This experience has sadly put me off biryani for life and this was one of my favourite dishes. Such a disappointment and complete waste of a Saturday night.


4th May, 2017
Can you freeze this?
goodfoodteam's picture
5th May, 2017
This recipe is much better if not frozen. All our recipes which freeze well are marked with a blue star above the nutritional information.
13th Aug, 2016
Can this be frozen?
7th May, 2016
Having a hard time converting the recipe from grams to US metric units like cups, and ounces. Can you help please??
5th May, 2015
Do you cook the rice before putting it into the oven?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th May, 2015
Hi there kurrykpop, the rice goes in raw and cooks in the stock in the oven. Hope this helps to clarify. Let us know how you get on if you decide to try this recipe. 
7th Nov, 2019
Cooked for 2 people for 2 nights. Reduced rice to 300g, stock to 800ml, used 2 garlic cloves instead of onion and didn't use the lemon. Cooked in the time said on the recipe. Good easy meal.
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